A MOTHER'S MEMORIAL TRILOGY


By Esther B. (Campbell) Gates


In memory of Sp/4 Keith Allen Campbell DSC, BSM, PH



MY Sonů



NOW SLEEP


Peace has come.

Now you can truly sleep my son.

The muddy field where you were laid

Flag-draped, will now be green.

Redbud and cherry blossoms can be seen

Soon in bloom above your head.

Arlington's Eternal Flame

Flickers across granite rows

To illuminate your name;

And then beneath it (with lightning's calm)

Strikes in black the word

VIETNAM

On your own stone.

Peace has come.

Your medals may turn green

In time, like your beret.

But forever there are those who'll say,

"I live because he cared--he came!"

You need no longer wander a tormented soul.

You achieved your personal goal

Of saving lives, easing pain.

Now sleep in peace, my son. Sleep!

Our Nation has assured

You did not die in vain

And I no longer weep alone.



ARLINGTON'S VIETNAM DEAD


I wonder if you walk at night

Among those granite stones

Awakening sleeping souls to flight

To rattle history's bones.


I wonder if you sit to chat

At Mr. Lincoln's knee

Discussing all the "this" and "that"

That makes up history.


For history is what stretches wide

Before my brimming eyes

As the shimmering Potomac's tide

Blends with the lighted skies.


Row on row they sleep

Below me, now and forever more.

I count the stones (like counting sheep)

From each and every war.


"Can there be peace?" I'm sure they ask

At Mr. Lincoln's knee.

"To bleed and die was our task,

And now we're history.


But we did not love--we did not live

There was so little time.

Is twenty years too much to give

To fill an empty shrine?"


And as I stare and listen well

I'm sure that I can hear

A quiet splash in the columned cell

That's another Lincoln tear.



THE MISSING MAN


I stood beside the empty grave

Waiting for my friend,

Saying deep within my soul,

"This cannot be the end."


Then I heard a mighty roar;

Looked into the blinding sky

As four planes in close formation

Streaked above to say good-bye.


In a single moment

One pulled out, up, and away

And left a gaping hole

In that formation on this day.


As he did a "barrel roll"

(Bounding upward to disappear)

I heard my friend's bright laughter

As I wiped away a tear.


In that priceless, shining moment

My heart leaped up with pride

For I knew my friend would forever fly.

I knew he had not "died."



Esther B. (Campbell) Gates © 2000

Lives in San Antonio, Texas

Where her son, Keith, trained to become a Medic

"His goal was to become an Army Doctor"


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